Yellowknife Mayor Gordon Van Tighem says he's pushing ahead with his goal to build a scientific "centre of excellence" in the N.W.T. capital.
In an interview Wednesday with CBC Radio, Van Tighem said there is enough environmental and geological research being done in the Northwest Territories to justify having a research centre in Yellowknife, rather than see much of that work get sent down to southern Canada.
"While there is a large amount of science happening here, there's also a lot that still migrates south and east and west," he said in the interview.
Van Tighem said both the federal and territorial governments, as well as the private sector, have expressed enough interest in making it work.
They are currently working on a study to see if the existing scientific work being done in the North can support support some kind of central research centre, as well as determine what it would take to attract more research units north of 60.
"The initial study showed about 1,100 people employed in the field, with the possibility of increasing it to about 2,200 people with the synergies of putting it all together in one centre and about … 160,000 square feet of building space," he said.
"It would be in an area where it could be expanded over the years and it would be starting as soon as we could start it."
Similar proposals for a scientific research centre have been discussed in Whitehorse and Iqaluit, but Van Tighem said his idea for a Yellowknife-based centre is not meant to compete with those other cities.
"I don't see it as competitive more as it's co-operative. Each person as the areas that they're working in. Our area, we have water labs [and] we have soil labs," he said.